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Julian of Norwich has nothing to say

Posted by Simon Parke, 04 April 2017, 5.59am

Julian of Norwich wrote for those considering the contemplative life…which she regarded as everyone.

And she placed ‘nothing’ at the heart of their adventure.

‘They should choose to set at nothing everything that is made,’ she says.

And why this absurd demand?

‘So as to have the love of God who is unmade.’

‘This is why those who choose to occupy themselves with earthly business,’ she continues, ‘and are always pursuing worldly success, do not know God in their hearts and souls.

They love and seek their rest in this thing where there is no rest, for all that is below God does nothing to satisfy us.

This is why, until all that is made seems as nothing, no soul can be at rest.’

And so it is, in a few simple words, that Julian unceremoniously rips up my life.

She leaves my bucket list in torn-up shreds on the ground.

Though pleasingly, my rage and anxiety list is left there also.

Julian here gives clues about the contemplative calling to behold the unfolding - rather than attach to particular elements within it.

Are there things I make as something, which are best understood as nothing?

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